Main One cable opens for business
By MARTIN EPKEKE
Africa appears set to end its bandwidth scarcity with the launch of Main One connectivity sea cable. The 1.92 terabytes and 7400 kilometre long submarine fibre cable system links West Africa to Europe.
With a long history of bandwidth famine, Main One is joining other similar efforts to open the last connected continent. Africa is the least connected of all continents and has the most costly price tag on bandwidth thus ensuring that more than 80% of the continent’s over 750 million people stay outside the information highway.
“Africa’s connectivity was largely based on the very pricey satellite connections and the only submarine fiber optic cable, SAT-3/WASC/SAFE owned by government telcos who did everything possible to ensure the benefits were never optimized. SAT-3 bandwidth in African countries whether in Nigeria through NITEL or Ghana through GT (Ghana Telecom) came at the price of a piece of the moon. In all the countries that SAT-3 had a landing, telecom services were rendered over 50 times the price you could access the same or better services in Europe and other parts of the world.”
But Main One is ending all that with the launch of its connectivity cable that connects more than 10 West African countries. “Today is a historic day for West Africa. The arrival of the Main One cable proves that much good can be done by Africans for Africans. We are pleased to realize the fruit of our dedication and commitment in the past 30 months. More importantly, we are happy to be a channel for driving growth in Africa and changing the status quo for the average African as reliable internet connectivity become easily accessible and affordable for all,” said Chairman of Main One cable company Mr. Fola Adeola in a ceremony in Lagos marking the start of commercial business for the company.
The launch event held simultaneously in London and Lagos served as a major gathering for stakeholders from the business and public sectors. In attendance was Acting Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission Dr. Bashir Gwandu, the Executive Governor of Lagos; State Babatunde Fashola, the Executive and Governor of Cross River State; Senator Liyel Imoke.
The Main One cable joins the 2009 entry of the Seacom cable connecting eastern and southern Africa with Asia, and the TEAMs cable terminating in Kenya to radically begin to change the African connectivity landscape for good. Glo 1 also joined the trail this year to reinforce Africa’s connectivity infrastructures particularly across West Africa.
Two more sea cables are on the start line already for 2010: The Eastern Africa Submarine Cable System (EASSy) and LION bring connectivity to the southern and eastern parts of the continent. The sub-marine fiber optic ring is not complete. Two more, WACS and ACE should join the competition from 2011 to 2012 to redraw Africa’s connectivity map in more exciting ways than once anticipated about 20 years ago.
Main One is poised to deliver high capacity connectivity to its subscribers said CEO of Main One Cable Company Ms Funke Opeke. She said over ten telecom operators have already subscribed to the service of Main One cable to underscore the yearning gaps connectivity.